Data for Good

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Centering Equity


Massive change is underway in the energy landscape as countries and cities grapple with climate change. Unfortunately, the communities most vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change and energy choices are lower-income and people of color. They face unfair burdens in many areas, including housing, healthcare, and energy.


Energy burden is the percentage of a household’s annual income spent on electricity and gas bills; in the United States, an energy burden of 3-4% is typical. An energy burden greater than 6% of income is considered high, while those greater than 10% are severe. Many circumstances contribute to unaffordable bills, including poor housing conditions, income inequality, and lack of access to the levers of power and the information that will drive policy change. Our research has demonstrated that energy burden is a driver of displacement and evictions and correlated with higher incidence of asthma, chronic heart disease, and mental health conditions.

An infographic with text reading: "Did you know? There is a 60% higher energy burden for the average black family vs. white; despite using less energy."
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A primary focus of Greenlink’s work is ensuring that communities traditionally left out of the climate policy conversation are meaningfully engaged and considered in all clean energy transition planning efforts. Greenlink works with local communities, cities, and states to ensure that every step of the planning, decision-making, and implementation process involves direct input and community buy-in from those who bear the brunt of economic, environmental, and social burdens.

A graphic with a quote from Greenlink Analytics CEO, Matt Cox, PhD: "We could make things better, faster in these communities if we had the right people at the table with the right kinds of resources."

What Does Meaningful Engagement Look Like?


The key to making sure that all members of a community equitably benefit from clean energy plans and transitions is by engaging the members of those communities that have historically benefitted least. This requires us to:

Think Holistically

Create interconnected climate and social policies, programs, and projects by identifying gaps in equity and leveraging community-driven opportunities.

Confront Climate Challenges

Strengthen environmental sustainability and resiliency by aligning clean energy goals and practices

Work Together

Continue to design and promote community engagement opportunities and regional, cross-sector partnerships.

Embrace Accountability

Commit to learning from past injustices to measure progress toward equitable climate outcomes.

Pioneer Innovation

Continue to seek bold and creative climate and social solutions to serve as an example to others.